Business students win Free Enterprise Olympics against UVM, Clarkson, and 5 SUNY institutions

business student team winners

Alexandra N. Brenock '15, Thomas W. Fergus '13, Michelle M. McGuinness '13, Patrick S. McFetridge '13
Muller's Carts CEO Martin Drolet, and Business Department Chair Robert Letovsky.

Business students from Saint Michael's went head to head with teams from seven other institutions in the first annual Free Enterprise Olympics, held at the State University of New York, Plattsburgh, on Friday, March 1. The competing schools, whose teams were all challenged to present a new product for Smart Cart, were Saint Michael's, the University of Vermont, Clarkson, and State University of New York institutions at Plattsburgh, Canton, New Paltz, Albany, and Adirondack.

Saint Michael's winning team of business majors included Alexandra N. Brednock '15 of Medway, MA, Michelle M. McGuinness '13 of Groton, MA, Thomas W. Fergus '13 of Norwalk, CT, and Patrick S. McFetridge '13 of Medfield, MA. They earned first place from a panel of expert judges following a day-long working session and five-minute presentations by each team, followed by dinner, a talk, judging, and the announcement.

Competition challenge: design a new product for Smart Cart

The team, coached by Business Professors Robert Letovsky of Jericho and Karen Popovich of Essex Junction, got the contest challenge from a representative of a local manufacturer, Smart Cart Enterprises: Develop new designs of Smart Carts' product that would enable it to enter new markets and grow the business. The teams were then "locked up" for three hours to prepare five- minute presentations for the company’s owner.

The Saint Michael's team focused its presentation on a new version of the company's basic cart that would allow gardeners, farmers and athletic field operators to spread seeds, fertilizer, or sand across a wide area. The presentation offered a design for the new model, as well as a pricing and distribution strategy, and a brief comparison with current competing products, Professor Letovsky reported.

Winners

Following the eight team presentations, the judges deliberated and announced the winners following dinner with a speech from Smart Carts owner Martin Drolet, about the challenges and rewards of being an entrepreneur. The Saint Michael's team presentation won the competition and the $1,000 cash prize, the team from SUNY Albany was 2nd, and Clarkson University 3rd.

All eight teams had held preliminary events selecting one student to compete in a "Free Enterprise Speak Off." These eight students gave three-to-five minute speeches on "Free Enterprise + Entrepreneurship: The formula for a stronger economy." Saint Michael's home-team winner was Alexandra N. Brenock '15, who earned a prize of $150. Saint Michael's student Parker LeClerc '13 of Bedford, NH won the 2nd place prize of $75.

At the March 1 competition, the speech winners from each of the eight participating institutions gave their speeches to a panel of judges. Saint Michael's Alexandra Brednock '15 won the 3rd place prize of $250 at the Plattsburgh competition.